Cirtas, whose Bluejet Cloud Storage Controller is shipping for $70,000 and up, lets enterprises offload less frequently used data to the cloud while keeping high priority data in-house for optimal performance. The 2U appliance caches high priority data locally and stores secondary data in cloud services using WAN optimization technology, letting customers access cloud storage with performance and security in mind. The appliance combines DRAM, solid state drives (SSDs) and 7200RPM hard disk drives for multiple tiers of storage and up to 3.5TB of internal capacity.
"Cirtas claims they basically make the cloud look local to the applications," says analyst Arun Taneja of the Taneja Group. "That's the magic" -- customers get local performance with the price and flexibility of cloud computing.
Gridiron Systems, meanwhile, built a SAN application accelerator designed for large databases, VMware deployments, Oracle and general file acceleration. Gridiron uses MLC (multi-level cell) flash chips to provide "the performance and read/write ability of RAM with the capacity of Flash," speeding up access to application data sets.
Gridiron Systems officials claim to be in stealth mode and won't reveal pricing except to potential customers. However, the company seems to be stealth in name only, as it has been shipping production deployments since June and offers detailed information about its technology on its Web site.
On the virtualization front, the startup Virsto is speeding up access to data for virtualized systems, particularly those relying upon Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor. Virsto's storage virtualization software installs into the hypervisor and manages its interaction with storage, improving the efficiency of data access operations in an attempt to eliminate the I/O bottlenecks caused when virtual servers try to access storage systems.
VMware has done a relatively good job optimizing storage, which is why Virsto is focusing on Hyper-V. "Microsoft needs more help" because its virtualization technology is newer than VMware's, Virsto CEO Mark Davis says.
While VMware is still the king of x86 virtualization, Hyper-V is becoming a viable alternative and its market could expand greatly because of the vast Windows Server install base.
"Flash, and successor solid state technologies, will revolutionize storage and the rest of the hardware stack," Monash predicts.Virident makes a PCIe SSD storage system that delivers low-latency data access for I/O-intensive applications, such as databases. Virident isn't the first startup in this market, as it will have to contend against the likes of Fusion-io, which has Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as its chief scientist. But Virident is claiming to offer faster performance with at least 200,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second), and disk lifetime of 24 years, assuming 5TB worth of writes per day.